Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that State Disaster Recovery Co-ordinator Major-General Stuart Smith AO DSC (ret.) will have his role extended to head up the recovery effort following the flood emergency in North and North West Queensland.
The Premier said Major General Smith would serve as State Recovery Coordinator to support all communities affected by the monsoonal flood event.
“Since Australia Day, we have seen impacts from this flood event stretch from the Torres Strait to near the Northern Territory border and south to Mackay,” the Premier said.
“Major-General Smith is an experienced disaster recovery coordinator, having worked closely with local disaster management groups, councils, government and the community through the bushfire recovery effort.
“The Major-General will be supported locally by senior Queensland Police Service Superintendent Mark Plath to provide the Queensland Government with critical insights on how we can best assist communities on their road to recovery.”
“Superintendent Plath is an experienced senior police officer of 32 years, with recent experience in both the planning and delivery of the QPS security operations for the Commonwealth Games and G20.”
North Queensland has experienced unprecedented rainfall over the past fortnight, with some areas receiving more than their average annual rainfall in little over a week.
In addition to Townsville and surrounding areas the flood has affected communities including Julia Creek, McKinlay, Kynuna, Croydon, Charters Towers, Richmond, Hughenden, Winton, Karumba, Normanton, Burketown, Doomadgee, Daintree, the Torres Strait, Wujal Wujal, Hervey’s Range, Halifax, Coen, Townsville, Eungella, the Burdekin and Whitsundays.
While Major-General Smith and Superintendent Plath will be based in Townsville, their role will encompass all affected areas throughout the state.
The Premier said the nature of the flood emergency had made it difficult to complete damage assessments, and part of the early responsibilities of Major General Smith and Superintendent Plath would be to fully understand the scope of the rebuilding effort required.
“Major General Smith will work closely with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and local councils to identify the critical works needed to help North and North West Queensland recover,” the Premier said.
“We know Queensland receives more than its fair share of natural disasters, and we will, as we do after every disaster, take the opportunity to rebuild stronger and more resilient infrastructure.
“I’ve seen first-hand the damage and destruction brought on by this unprecedented disaster, but I’ve also seen the incredible resilience of North Queenslanders on display and I have no doubt that the recovery effort will foster a new-found sense of unity and co-operation among these communities.”
Queenslanders can assist flood affected residents by donating to the Australian Red Cross Society, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland, UnityCare Community and GIVIT.